Requisite rant about Apple’s approval process

I’ve finally been bitten by Apple’s App Store approval process.

An app I’ve develop for browsing, buying, and reading comics on iOS devices got rejected from the App Store the other week. The reason? They state that the app requires personal user information before providing its basic functionality, something which is outlined in their review guidelines.

Now, from my point of view, that’s fair enough. Except that it doesn’t require personal information. It requires a new user to create a free account (within the app), which requires no personal information, just a username and password. So obviously I disputed this.

After a week or so they got back to me, and after someone tried to phone me and couldn’t (not sure why, but anyway) I got on to him and was essentially told that the app was rejected and that’s it.

I pointed out that the app doesn’t actually require any personal information, that didn’t save me.

I pointed out that there are other apps in the same category (for example, our direct competitors) who not only require registration, but require a valid email address before allowing you to download even free titles. Their response to this was that it didn’t matter what else was in the app store, this was about our app.

I pointed out that one of our own apps has the same functionality, which we changed after a similar (but in the first instance because we requested an email address, correct) complaint, after which I changed to the mechanism and it got approved. I got given the same excuse as to do with other apps.

At some point in all this, the real reason came out. They didn’t think it was a good user experience. So all this garbage about their review guidelines and at the end of the day, they just didn’t like the way our app handles.

I understand the guidelines which Apple set out, even if I don’t agree with all of them, and I feel safer buying apps from the app store for them. However when I get an app I’ve made rejected for behaviour that isn’t against their guidelines, that’s a bit upsetting. When a direct competitor to my app is breaking the guidelines and don’t seem to have any problems (probably since they’re making more money for Apple than we are), well that just seems like bullshit to me.

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